We decided to shake things up this month—we’re talking about our favorite local restaurants! Whether you’re just looking for a fun new spot to check out or want to plan a nice date night out with that special someone, we’ve got you covered. In no particular order, here’s a list of our team’s favorite restaurants in Charlottesville and central VA area.
Monsoon Siam is a reliable hole-in-the-wall downtown favorite for Thai cuisine. It’s not directly on the mall, but close enough to walk off your meal there afterward. Try the Drunken Noodles!
My pick would be Wahoo BBQ in Fluvanna. They started in a run-down gas station that sat vacant for years, and after becoming an instant success, they have now moved into one of the largest restaurant buildings in Fluvanna. I live across the street and can smell the smoking BBQ well into the night. Aside from the incredible food, I am always impressed with their hard work and dedication to their craft (you almost always run into the owners while there). It is a must-try for anyone in the area!
Hamilton’s has long been a popular spot for upscale dining in Charlottesville. It’s perfect for special occasions, particularly of the romantic variety, and it’s worth going at least once. They often do a prepaid multiple-course dinner special on Valentine’s Day, but otherwise, order anything; the entire menu is good.
Brazos Tacos in Ix Art Park has a very creative menu. They offer tacos appropriate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and can meet a variety of dietary needs. In my opinion, they also have the best margaritas in town, though Alyson disagrees with me! (see below), especially for the Happy Hour price. Let Happy Hour decide your whole meal! From 2:00-4:00 p.m., in addition to discounted margaritas and mimosas with a variety of flavors, they serve a pre-set menu of $2.50 tacos! The service is great and they also have plenty of outdoor seating, including heaters for when the weather gets chilly.
My boyfriend and I are regulars at The Bebedero. It was around for a while in its previous location above the Whiskey Jar and recently moved to a new location on the downtown mall. The vibe is very Mexican funk, with a warm, romantic atmosphere and lots of great art on the walls. They often have live music too!
This place has a great tequila and Mezcal bar with skilled, knowledgeable bartenders and interesting drink specials. In my opinion, these are the best margaritas in town, and possibly the state! Jackie thinks Brazos has the best (“Harumph,” I say, haha!), but try them both and decide for yourself. If you order one, always get the large size. If you aren’t a margarita fan, there’s something on the menu for you too, or you can ask for a recommendation.
As for food, don’t skip the appetizers; they are arguably the best section on the menu and the portions are generous. When we go, we tend to order some combination of the Queso Fundido, guacamole, nachos, or empanadas to share. As for drinks, again, I stand by the margaritas! However, the last few times we’ve gone, we’ve let the bartender choose for us, and we’ve never been steered wrong!
When my wife and I moved to the area in 2019, one of the first restaurants we ordered from was Milan Indian Restaurant, and it’s been a staple for us ever since. Their food is some of the best, if not the best, Indian food I’ve had. I highly recommend Paneer Makhni for dinner.
Go for dinner and appreciate not just the food but the wonderful service as well. However, if you’re treating yourself to an evening in, getting their delivery through services like Grubhub and DoorDash is worth it! It’s the kind of food that’s still excellent after reheating.
I have a gluten intolerance, so if you can relate, then The Local is a great choice. A little more upscale, it’s very popular for a reason: the food and service are always great! The Local “Buffalo Creek Beef” Short Ribs are a must!
It’s worth it to make a reservation ahead of time as it can be difficult to get a seat as a walk-in. Arrive a bit early to deal with the parking in Belmont or take an Uber to the restaurant. It may be a bit of a hassle either way, but it’s completely worth it.
Thai Cuisine & Noodle House on Commonwealth Drive is great! I recommend their Tom Yum soup and their curries!
I recommend Fabio’s in Ruckersville. We’ve been lucky enough to know the family since our kids were in daycare together many years ago. Everything Fabio and Elena make is infused with love and authenticity straight from Italy and their family roots. Get the baked ravioli appetizer and a garden salad with Italian house dressing. Then order the meat stromboli (large, of course)!
Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint has the best burgers on the planet! It’s a great place to meet up downtown before heading to a show or concert on the mall. For a more “special occasion” pick, Ivy Inn has a great atmosphere and excellent menu!
Smyrna is great for a weeknight, as you might be able to pop in without a reservation. However, it’s worth it to call ahead for larger parties. If you do have some friends with you and want to share a couple of plates, this is the perfect place!
The service is seriously impressive; not just your server but the whole staff takes care of you. On top of the food being delicious, it’s also very cozy. Try the Meze Trio, the “Manti” dumplings they’re famous for, or a lamb skewer.
Truthfully, I haven’t been in the area long, but Christian’s Pizza has already become a favorite. They have great pizza at a great price, and they even have outdoor seating at their location on the mall. I’ve tried a few flavors and you really can’t go wrong—but the classic pepperoni is my favorite so far.
A Resourceful Guide
So what do you think? Did your favorite restaurant make the list? If not, we would love to hear your suggestions as we are always looking for the next great take-out or dine-in meal. If you take us up on our recommendations and try any of these restaurants for the first time, tell them we sent you, and then let us know what you think!
We hope you found this list helpful. At Wilkinson Wealth Management, we strive to be a resource and guide as you navigate your financial journey. If you’re looking for help pursuing your financial goals (so you can afford those fancy restaurants!), we would love to connect to see if we would be a good fit to work together. Reach out to us today by giving us a call at 434-202-2521 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!
Alyson Martin is the Manager of Marketing and Events at Wilkinson Wealth Management, LLC, where she is responsible for the supervision and execution of all marketing, media, and event efforts. She has a double BA in English Nonfiction Prose and Economics from George Mason University as well as substantial professional experience working in marketing/event coordination and project management. She considers herself an enthusiastic team player and a relentless optimist.
Away from work, Alyson enjoys getting outside to enjoy nature, and expressing herself through creative efforts in writing and embroidery. When she can, she loves to travel and go to concerts. She is also an outreach volunteer for her local domestic abuse shelter.